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The banner of modern metal - 74%

Kalelfromkrypton, December 31st, 2007

Critically acclaimed for its innovative direction and combining of such different styles this album marked what I would say the pre Mortification and post Mortification totally opposite eras.


The first era is of course the one which appeals to heaviest fans since all the albums go from thrash to death metal to even grind core. The second era appeals to more commercial metal with power metal, hardcore, punk, and new death metal influences. So this was a standpoint in their career due to the epic title track that clocks at 19min. This is such a theme both musically and lyrically that it would focus on it later on.


I will begin with the regular tracks and the lineup: new drummer Keith Banister is a friend of Rowe’s but a bad drummer and I mean really bad. He is nothing but a filler for the rhythm parts, other than that he doesn’t know how to do anything interesting. When I say interesting I refer of course to such good and interesting drummers as Don Tardy, Jayson Sherlock, Uli Kush, Mike Terrana (regardless of the genre they ARE gods) and many more. Lincoln Bowen comes in as guitar player and I would say he added some very good things to the band such as guitar solos (almost nonexistent with Carlisle). He plays good riffs and he also begins composing some songs too. What I don’t like is the distortion he uses because it is too commercial and has no power at all.


With that in mind let’s now go to the music: Northern Storm is the second track and it is actually good, one of the few I must add. It is a ‘thrash’ song because of the fast part with a good main riff. It is enjoyable thou not remarkable. Peace in the Galaxy follows and it has an obvious a 70’s punk influence. This is a bass driven song which I would give around 65 as score. Jehova Nissi is next and now I get bored. This is by all means and empty song (not about the lyrics but musically speaking). The translation is ‘’Jehovah is my banner’’ but it lacks power, melody and a good main riff. This is a typical ‘put some music to these lyrics’’. Buried into Obscurity is again a punky song and one of the fastest tracks in here. Chapel of Hope is the very emotional bass driven song. The singing is not very good but they fill out the song with a good melody. Noah was a Knower is the fastest track coming from classic power metal influences but again the distortion takes out the power and finally Crusade for the King closes and this is much like JN very boring and it rests the interest in me.


Now, in regards to the title track it is an epic song and the lyrical concept is about how the angels saw and witnessed Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. An amazing theme if you ask me and the band even made a video for this, yes, a 19min. video clip which took them apart from the rest of the metal bands due to their commitment to make good music. The keyboards open and next the bass comes in with some basic rhythm and then the other two instruments are added; some solos come along to set the atmosphere the song. It is clean vocal sung with some growling here and there. Steve focuses on the emotion in his singing to represent the emotional climax for every movement. A lot of riffs are displayed here and a lot of bridges and interludes to get to the middle part. This middle part is slow and almost narrated and growled. The musical interlude is really good with keyboards perfectly adding atmosphere and the bass and guitar take the lead. The solos from now on are very emotional to give the feeling of the lyrical content until it reaches the end with supplications from the angel’s point of view. I could write paragraphs about this song but you have to listen to it by yourself to feel what I am talking about except for what I have mentioned above which I think will give you a slide idea of the epicness of this great song althou it doesn’t follow the regular death metal vein but a perfect combination of elements from a lot of styles. That, for a man like a Steve Rowe is an astonish accomplishment and for a us another reason to thank there are men like him who dare to explore new territory and gives an angelic music pleasure.